Wednesday, March 31, 2010

St Jospeh's Fairview Losing Services for Aspergers Children - Where's their 'Bail Out'?

Teachers and Parents in St Joseph's CBS in Fairivew are seeking urgent help due to both the denial of Beechpark Services for students with Aspergers currently in their Outreach classes, and the removal of access to Beechpark for students coming into their school next year. They currently have thirteen boys diagnosed with Aspergers presently in their three Outreach classes. Eight of these students are presently under the care of Beechpark Services. However, they have not had access to Beechpark Services for five of their students.

Two of these students, one in 6th Year and one in 5th Year had their files closed in the past, and Beechpark never re-opened them. Furthermore, an application was made on behalf of a student in 4th Year to obtain support from Beechpark. Yet years on, despite his multiple needs and numerous requests, he is still merely “on the waiting list”. These students have multiple needs, and this extreme lack of support from Beechpark is impeding their development.

Furthermore Beechpark are claiming that they will remove their services for four students due to join their classes next year. These four students are presently in the Outreach classes of St Joseph’s National School (next to our Secondary School), and are currently under the care of Beechpark Services. However, the school have been informed that these children will not have access to Beechpark Services once they leave the ASD Unit in the National School and transition into the Unit in the Secondary School.

Guaranteed multi-disciplinary supports, including access to a Psychiatrist, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Psychologists are essential for the development of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, especially in their teenage years, when often mental health issues become exasperated. Hence, this denial of services is a disgraceful situation and needs immediate rectification.

I am calling on the Minister for Health and the Minister for Education to address this matter immediately and to return the services for these most vulnerable of children.